Jerusalem Issue Briefs-The Mayor's Vision for Jerusalemhttp://jcpa.org/...age.asp?DRIT=1&DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=442&PID=0&IID=4464&TTL=The_Mayor%27s_Vision_for_Jerusalem[12/19/2010 10:22:08 AM]
Making a Wall-to-Wall Coalition Work
Let me share some of the methodology of how I work in the city ofJerusalem. We have a council of 31 members and in the first month Iformed a coalition that included 30 members, which was unprecedented.In a way Jerusalem is a microcosm of what is happening in the country,and I believe that forming relationships between the leadership of theultra-Orthodox community and the secular, and sitting together onpractically every problem that arises, brings solutions to the problems. Noteveryone is always happy with the decisions we make, but themethodology of sitting together and focusing on the common denominatorworks.The way I manage the municipality is not political but through professionalmanagement, where we share thoughts and bring professional solutions inthe same way as when I managed in the business world. After a year asmayor, I can tell you that this does work.
Developing a Unique City
Because Jerusalem is a 3,000-year-old city, we have patches uponpatches of history about which we have to be very considerate. There areover 3,000 buildings designated for preservation in the city of Jerusalem.At the moment we do not have the correct ratio between business andresidential areas, and there is a large gap in terms of buildings for publicneeds, such as schools, synagogues, and community centers. In the past,in western Jerusalem, too many building permits were issued to changeareas designated for hotels and commerce into residential projects,whereas in eastern Jerusalem, too many neighborhoods were builtillegally at a rate with which the municipality and the government couldnot keep up. When new neighborhoods were built illegally, this created ahuge gap in infrastructure, including roads, public buildings, and publicland.The average income of Jews in Jerusalem is about $16,000 a year. In thecenter of Israel, this figure is approaching $30,000 a year. The averageincome for Arabs in Jerusalem is about $4,000 a year, but in the WestBank it is less than $1,000 a year. When a young Jewish graduate fromHebrew University sees that the job market is not strong in the city, hemigrates out of Jerusalem. However, when the Arabs in the West Banksee that the job market in Jerusalem is so much better than where theylive, this encourages Arab migration into Jerusalem.We are now concentrating on implementing the master plan for Jerusalemwhich has been developed over the past decade under theadministrations of former Mayors Olmert, Lupoliansky, and myself. Themaster plan has been publicly discussed for five years in the local anddistrict planning committees, and now practically everyone is workingaccording to this plan, although it is not yet official. The plan includesexpansion of residential areas in Jerusalem, including the naturalexpansion of existing neighborhoods. We intend to expand Gilo andRamat Shlomo and other Jewish neighborhoods, as well as Arabneighborhoods such as Issawiya and A-Tur, in order to take care of theneeds of all the different sectors in Jerusalem.Two of the challenges I face are to come up with clear policies and